Davis, Angela. The Black Woman’s Role in the Community of Slaves
1971, The Bancroft Library
Added by: Tomasz Zyglewicz, Shannon Brick, Michael Greer
Introduction: The paucity of literature on the black woman is outrageous on its face. But we must also contend with the fact that too many of these rare studies must claim as their signal achievement the reinforcement of fictitious cliches. They have given credence to grossly distorted categories through which the black woman continues to be perceived.
Comment (from this Blueprint): Content warning: Details of cruelties of slavery, sexual assault. In this 1971 text written while incarcerated, Angela Davis makes an argument against the truth of a stereotype of the black enslaved woman. She argues that, contrary to popular belief, the stereotype of a black woman under slavery as the “matriarch” (i.e., dominating the men in their lives and colluding with the white slaver in black people’s oppression) is not true. Instead, she argues, appealing to empirical evidence and marxist theory, that black women’s position in the community of slaves uniquely positioned them to aid in liberation struggles. She argues it is empirically borne out that they in fact were crucial to both explicit and everyday resistance efforts.